- First acting role came in a grade-school production of Johnny Appleseed. Went on to study theater in college.
- Member of Steppenwolf Theatre Company in Chicago, IL, since 1979; debuted in the 1980 play Bonjour, La Bonjour.
- Honored with her first Jeff Award, given for outstanding accomplishments in Chicago theater, in 1982.
- In 1986, made directorial stage debut in the two-play series Lydie Breeze.
- Made Broadway debut in the 1990 stage version of The Grapes of Wrath.
- First TV role was on the ABC comedy Roseanne in a 1992 episode called "Therapy."
- Made cinematic debut in the 1992 comedy Mo' Money.
- Rejected role of Mattie Fae in the problematic comedy August: Osage County four times before she agreed to do it; her portrayal earned her a Tony Award.
- Landed the role of Peggy in the 2010 CBS comedy Mike & Molly.
- 2008, Tony — Actress (Featured Role--Play): Winner
- Steve Eich — Ex-husband
- Illinois State University, Normal, IL (1977)
- Birth Place: Dixon, IL
- Profession: Actor, Singer, Director
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